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UN joins chorus calling for release of Moroccan army whistleblower

The intervention of the UN adds pressure on the Moroccan government to release TI Integrity Award winner Captain Mustapha Adib

In the light of the recent statement by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Transparency International (TI), the global non-governmental organisation fighting corruption, is urging the Moroccan authorities to immediately release Captain Mustapha Adib. In October 2000, Captain Adib was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for denouncing corruption in the military and in the same year he was honoured with a TI Integrity Award.

The independent UN experts, in an opinion made public on 10 January, called the deprivation of Captain Adib's liberty arbitrary, citing the violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The UN working group has questioned the independence and especially the impartiality of the military tribunal that sentenced Adib. This, they say, violated his right to a fair trial as guaranteed under the provisions of the two international human rights instruments.

Transparency International stresses that Morocco has a legal obligation to comply with these accords. "Following the clear decision of the UN working group, allowing Captain Adib to spend even one more hour in prison is not only unjust, but also clearly violates the International legal instruments that Morocco has ratified and contradicts the official declarations made by the country's officials concerning the respect of human rights," said Sion Assidon of Transparency Maroc, TI's Moroccan chapter.

For the past two years, TI and Transparency Maroc have repeatedly denounced the conditions of the trial of Captain Adib alongside international and local human rights organisations. In a meeting with Moroccan Prime Minister Adberrahmane el Youssoufi in December 2000, TI representatives voiced their strong concern over Adib's treatment.

In a letter sent today to the Moroccan King and Prime Minister, TI calls for the immediate release of Mustapha Adib and a fair and open retrial. TI also urges the Moroccan authorities to take the necessary steps to protect whistleblowers across the board. "Unless citizens feel safe in coming forward to expose malpractice inside an administration - whether civilian or military - corruption will continue to spread unchecked and unsanctioned," said Roslyn Hees, TI's Executive Director for Africa.

Captain Mustapha Adib exposed a corruption racket run by his superiors in a Moroccan air base. After the sentencing and dismissal of the guilty officers in 1998, he was ostracised by the military and, after having exhausted all means of legal recourse, he decided to go public with his complaint. As a result, Captain Adib was charged with 'breaching discipline' and 'slander'. He has been in prison since 16 December 1999. TI recognised Mustapha Adib's courage by honouring him with an Integrity Award in 2000. The annual prize recognises individuals and organisations around the globe whose courageous examples provide leadership in the global anti-corruption effort. The winners in 2001 were investigating magistrate Eva Joly of France and a Brazilian coalition whose efforts led to the impeachment of a corrupt city mayor.

For more information on the TI Integrity Awards and Mustapha Adib, including a photo, please see: www.transparency.org/.

Further details are also available in the press release of the International Federation of Human Rights/Lawyers without Borders/World Organisation against Torture at: http://www.fidh.org/communiq/2002/ma1101f.htm.


For any press enquiries please contact

Jana Kotalik (Berlin)
Tel: +49-30-3438 2061
Fax: +49-30-3470 3912
press@transparency.org

Sion Assidon (Casablanca)
Tel/Fax : +212-2230 6615
sion@menara.net.ma